Discover Marquette’s Black Rocks Cliffs
The Black Rocks Marquette cliffs are one of my favorite spots in the U.P. , and I’m not alone. Each year, thousands of visitors flock to this quiet spot along Lake Superior for hiking, sightseeing, and even cliff-jumping.
These magnificent cliffs of natural black rock towering over Lake Superior, located in Marquette County, are a perfect trip idea any time of the year. It’s not only a pure Michigan tourist attraction, but it’s also a spot where locals and students from nearby Northern Michigan University gather to take in the breathtaking natural beauty.
Pretty Black Rocks beach, set between the two cliffs, is a great spot to hunt for treasured Michigan rocks such as Yooperlites and possibly even a Petoskey Stone. It’s a shallow bay so the water is a little bit warmer for swimming in the summer months.
Read on to discover everything you need to know about Marquette’s Black Rock Cliffs, including some important information about Black Rocks cliff diving from safety officials in Marquette, MI.
About the Black Rocks Cliffs
Looming about 30 feet above a frigid (most of the time) Lake Superior, the Black Rocks are ancient rock formations that add to the dramatic landscape of the shoreline in Marquette’s Presque Isle Park.
Marquette’s Black Rocks’ height is almost as striking as their dark hue, which, when combined with fall colors, makes a perfect subject for breathtaking photos.
To fully grasp Black Rocks’ enormity, you have to look from the edge. The view of Lake Superior is one you have to experience first-hand.
As you take in the panoramic Lake Superior view, you’ll have to think twice to assure yourself that you are not looking at the ocean. It’s one the best views in the U.P., in our opinion, and the only that can compare is from the top of nearby Sugarloaf Mountain.
When to Visit Black Rocks Marquette
In the summer, Black Rocks beach and nearby McCarty’s Cove and Picnic Rocks beach are three of the most popular beaches in U.P.
During fall in Michigan, it’s a perfect destination for a fall color tour, with the contrast of the black rock against a blue sky and brilliant foliage of red and gold. In the winter and spring months, the Black Rocks are a perfect spot to see the northern lights, free from any light pollution.
Where Are Marquette’s Black Rocks Cliffs
The Black Rocks are located in Presque Isle Park in Marquette, perhaps the best park in Marquette.
Here, you’ll find beautiful beaches, trees, and lengthy hiking trails surrounding this stunning rock formation.
As elusive as they may sound, the Black Rocks are quite easy to find. Presque Isle Park is a short drive north from downtown Marquette, just past the ore docks. Presque Isle Park Marquette is set on a peninsula that extends into Lake Superior, surrounded on all three sides by the dark blue water.
A trip along the road surrounding Presque Isle Park, Peter White Drive, is a great way to get an idea of your surroundings before setting off to Black Rocks, as the park is an attraction in its own right.
Explore Presque Isle Park
Whether you decide to take the Peter White loop around the park by car or bike, keep in mind that you’ll want to slow down and take it all in.
You could easily spend all day hiking and exploring the park, but don’t worry; the hike to Black Rocks is relatively easy and well worth every step.
PRO-TIP: Sunset Point is a perfect spot to take in a Lake Superior sunset. Bring a camera because you’ll want to capture the spctacular view on film.
Cliff Jumping At Black Rocks
Cliff Jumping Dangerous, Fire Chief Says
While the beauty of the Black Rocks cliffs against the backdrop of Lake Superior is exhilarating, the City of Marquette Fire and Rescue Department discourages any jumping or diving from the cliffs into the lake.
According to Battalion Chief Jeff Haile, “From a risk assessment, it’s a high hazard, and we do not encourage jumping.
The area is not guarded; the lake has rip currents, and the water temperature is cold.”
Haile continued, “It’s swim at your own risk. In Marquette, we have seven miles of protected beaches for beachgoers to explore.
Exploring Black Rocks Cliffs and More in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
There really is a spot for everyone and for every activity you can imagine in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
If you are looking for sheer natural beauty with a little excitement thrown in, try a trip to the Black Rocks of Marquette, Michigan.
With numerous natural wonders spread across its vast landscape, the opportunities for outdoor fun in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula are endless. There’s everything from hiking and biking (including fat tire biking) to skiing, sightseeing.
How about a relaxing hike through the woods alongside a waterfall with the sound of calm, running water filling the air? Tahquamenon Falls might be the place for you.
Or did you have something a bit more daring in mind? You might try hiking through the dense forests of the Porcupine Mountains.
Kitch-Iti-Kipi, or the “Big Spring” are worth checking out if you’re in the Upper Peninsula. This 40-foot deep freshwater spring has water so crystal clear you can actually see all the way to bottom, and catch glimpses of the fish congregating among the limestone bottom as they search for food.
Marquette MI Restaurants
After a long day of swimming, climbing, and hiking, you will most definitely need refreshments, and there is only one place suitable after a day at Black Rocks: Blackrocks Brewery, one of my favorite spots in Marquette. You might also try Iron Bay Restaurant and Distillery, set in a cozy, historic building.
Marquette MI Hotels
When you are ready for bed, there are many great hotels in the Marquette area. Some of my favorites include:
Frequently Asked Questions About Marquette’s Black Rock Cliffs
A. According to Health and Happiness U.P. Magazine, The Black Rocks are a metamorphosed igneous peridotite about 1.7 billion years old. The rock was exposed previously, because the Jacobsville Sandstone rests directly on top of that ancient erosional surface (called a nonconformity).
A. Lake Superior is approximately 20-30 feet around the Black Rocks Cliffs in Marquette.
A. While some DO cliff jump off of the Black Rocks in Marquette, it is not recommended or considered to be safe according to the City of Marquette Fire and Rescue Department, who cites Lake Superior’s cold water temperatures and dangerous rip currents as risk factors.
More Lake Superior Cliffs Near Black Rocks
While the dark hues of Black Rocks are stunning and make for great photos, you will not find a more colorful subject, save for the fall colors, than the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
Famous for vibrant deep red hues set against the jagged sandstone, this rock formation is a stark contrast to Black Rocks.
The two rock formations are something like siblings of northern Michigan: Black Rocks being the more adventurous one, and Pictured Rocks being the artist. While two could not be more different, but you can’t help but notice similarities.
However, cliff jumping is illegal in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, so you will have to go back to Black Rocks for that.
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About the Author
Patrick Crowley is a Content Manager with My Michigan Beach. A graduate of Oakland University with a degree in Cinema Studies, he is currently finishing a second in creative writing. Two of his greatest passions are film and the outdoors. When he is not watching movies, you can find him exploring the outdoors. He is delighted to be writing about the great state of Michigan and its many natural wonders.